by Diane Burroughs March 24, 2016 5 min read

What is Feather Plucking?

Feather plucking is a common behavior found in parrots.  This is a disorder in which the bird damages or pulls out its own feathers. 


In some cases, the bird will bite off or chew at feathers.  Other birds may strip or barber their feathers. And some birds simply pull them out by the entire shaft, leaving vast areas of bald spots.

All these feather plucking behaviors are a very frustrating problem for both veterinarians and the bird owner. After all, a lot of us are drawn to our bird's beautiful plumage.

While some birds pluck due to environmental or parrot husbandry issues, others, even in an ideal setting, pluck for seemingly no reason at all. 

Sometimes feather plucking behavior can be related to an upsetting event such as the death of a flock mate or a significant change within the family. Also, the owner not giving the bird a specific food item, the perfect toy, or going away for the weekend.

It might be due to an injury that caused scar tissue and made feathers feel uncomfortable. 

Whatever the cause, feather plucking behavior is often progressive in nature unless steps are taken early on to manage the problem.

The parrot may start with one part of the body such as the chest but starts to damage other areas such as the legs, back, wings, neck, or abdomen. Feather plucking takes on an obsessive-compulsive nature.

Feather Plucking Supplements

Nutrition greatly affects your birds plumage. If your parrot pet bird appears otherwise healthy, but it keeps damaging its feathers you may try using feather plucking supplements. Here are 5 of the best feather plucking supplements that can support your bird.

1. Avian Multi-vitamin with Biotin

Vitamins are very important for all animals, but they're especially feather plucking birds.  A lot of people rely on seeds or a pelleted diet as the mainstay of their birds nutrition.  Unfortunately, neither option provides for the nutrients that a bird needs to stay healthy.

Seeds are just plainly nutrient deficient.  Even seeds that are vitamin fortified aren't good because the vitamin coating is on the seed hull, which the bird discards, so the vitamins are on the bottom of the cage. Likewise, pellets, while better, are vitamin deficient.  The manufacturing process of most pellets cooks the vitamins right out! A bird multi-vitamin can help. Better yet, a vitamin rich formula with Biotin, like UnRuffledRx FeatheredUp! supports feather growth.

Buy UnRuffledRx FeatheredUp Now

A range of quality vitamins are needed to grow beautiful plumage, including vitamin's A, B,C,D,E, and iron, zinc, and protein. Signs of vitamin deficiency include dull, tattered feathers, respiratory distress, digestive issues. 

Surprisingly, even if you feed premium pellets, a lot of vitamins are lost in the baking process.  The best way to ensure that your bird gets adequate vitamins and minerals is to feed a premium avian specific multi-vitamins each day.  

Your avian veterinarian can easily do tests to find out if your bird is deficient in vitamins and nutrients. A good multi-vitamin may be in order. 

2. A Complete Calcium Supplement

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.  It is necessary for bone health, muscle health, blood clotting, and it plays a major role in how the nervous system functions. 

Calcium also acts as a cellular gatekeeper, allowing insulin and other hormones into individual cells. So, you can see adequate calcium is really important.  But, don't stop there.  Calcium needs D3 and magnesium to properly synthesize in the body.  Make sure that you're picking up a complete Avian Calcium Supplement.

UnRuffledRx Calcium, Magnesium +D3 has high bioavailability due to the unique mix of magnesium and D3 which are required for the body to synthesize calcium.

Always check with your avian veterinarian regarding how much calcium to offer your parrot. Sometimes a high early dose will ensure a proper calcium reserve in the bones of calcium-deficient parrots. 

3. Probiotics

It's a well known fact that a lot of parrots don't get the proper nutrition that their exotic bodies need.  And, birds are easily stressed.  These two issues can cause upset in the gut.  You can support your bird by giving it avian specific probiotics.

The gut is full of good probiotics and bad ones.  When the body is under stress, the bad microbes flourish.  Not any probiotic will do, for a bird.  You need a probiotic that contains the good elements that are naturally found in the psittacine gut. Keep a jar of probiotics around to offer your pet when its stressed out. 


Birds who are plucking their feathers may have stressed digestive systems. A digestive calming product can help improving nutrient absorption and maximize their gut function.

Stressed parrots may have a reduced blood supply to the digestive system and this may lead to chronic digestive upset and many other complications. 

Liquid or powder probiotic supplements can help to rebalance the digestive system which has a positive impact on feather plucking parrots. 

4. Skin & Feather Supplements

Being from tropical climates, captive parrots are prone to dry skin While not a supplement, per se FeatherSoft helps ease the discomfort of dry, itchy skin. This oat-based powder is mixed with water and sprayed on the skin.

Alternatively, if your bird scratches a lot, you may also use UnRuffledRx Aloe Vera Spray.  Aloe Vera has unique properties that help heal and soothe rashes and abrasions caused by too much scratching. You can use Aloe Vera and FeatherSoftinterchangeably.

Feather regeneration, whether due to a natural annual molt or because of a feather plucking problem is very taxing on the parrot's body.  The protein used to make feathers has a unique amino acid composition that differs from the proteins in the rest of the body.

Unfortunately, this unique mix of nutrients is rarely found in plant foods whether it be seeds, nuts, fruits, or vegetables. 

It is recommended to offer your parrot a specific feather growth supplement that offers the correct selection of amino acids found in feathers. Plus, a supplement such as UnRuffledRx FeatheredUp! 

Supplementing with correctly selected amino acid has a dramatic effect on both the quality of feathers produced and the speed with which they are replaced.

We recommend that FeatheredUp! be used along with a multi-vitamin to ensure that your bird receives essentials rich in mineral, vitamins, and balanced in proteins. 

Feather Plucking Supplements

5. Parrot Calming Supplements

Feather plucking birds are often anxious and stressed.  For this reason, we recommend avian specific parrot calming supplements. Nobody wants a drugged up bird, so we offer a variety of gentle to moderate calming formulas.

Chamomile based products are the most gentle solution for parrot anxiety and are recommended for birds with low-intensity anxiety. 

Try Loose Chamomile to make a tea or serve up UnRuffledRx Calming Herbs for Parrots.

Moderate Calming:  

Stereotypical behaviors such as screaming or mild feather destructive behaviors respond well to daily doses of UnRuffledRx Parrot Calming Formula.

This formula is based on the active, calming component of green tea have been found to be very successful.  

Intense Calming:  

Bird’s that self-mutilate may require intensive, pharmaceuticals to cease self-injurious behaviors.

However, there is a significant amount of research that demonstrates how self-injurious behaviors actually cause changes in brain chemistry making them very difficult to break. 

We recommend combining a bird collar with calming medications when a bird has obsessive feather destructive behavior.

In conclusion, providing your pet with a range of Feather Plucking Supplements can improve its health and disposition and support feather growth.

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